"really silly, it’s just a little lighter." Had plans for years.
The Pandaren race are "really chill" about the "serious as a heart attack" history of Azeroth. Mists of Pandaria provides the "next vital chapter" in Warcraft lore.
"There’s no way we’re gonna build an expansion set based on an April Fools Joke. What you guys may not know is, our senior art director, Sam Didier, started drawing these guys years ago," revealed Blizzard VP of Creative Development, Chris Metzen.
"It was just a passion project for him, and he painted all sorts of pictures of these guys and nobody really thought we would really include them in Warcraft — it was just what he loved drawing. And so he had crazy panda shamans and his artwork was off the hook."
"...these guys are not a joke. This is an idea that we’ve been thinking about for years. It’s one of our favorite flavors of Warcraft. It’s not ultimately really silly, it’s just a little lighter." Warcraft III introduced the Pandaren race for the first time in a minor role.
"But the context of what’s going on where they live, the context of what’s happening in the history of the world at this time: serious as a heart attack. They’re just really chill about it. This is no joke," continued Metzen.
"This is not a throw-away silly-silly ha ha funny expansion set; it is absolutely the next vital chapter and as things ratchet up, they’re gonna get really gnarly."
The Pandaren will mix things up: "The idea is, as things get super-crazy in the world between red and blue, the pandaren are going to be part, ultimately, of the solution because they just think differently than most of us do — they’re a little more far-sighted."
"So they’re really going to make a difference in the history of the world; it’s definitely not a light, throw-away expansion set in any way. Like Dave said, come on the ride with us. Be patient, but don’t jump to conclusions about how thin the idea is."
"It is not — it’s about as rich a kit as anything we’ve put out so far and it’s definitely got its intrigues and its dangers and its drama. It ain’t armies of the dead and it ain’t demons fallin’ out of the sky, but it’s definitely gonna have some flavor and some teeth."
"I actually think the pandaren as a culture are really neat," echoed Lead Quest Designer Dave Kosak, on a panel at BlizzCon 2011.
"I would encourage you, if you aren’t really climbing onto the idea, to check out what’s there, what’s in the game, because the pandaren are fascinating, they’re fun — they live hard, they work hard, they play hard, they drink hard, they nap hard. they don’t do anything halfway. So they’re a very fun, very lively, vibrant people.”
Do you welcome the Mists of Pandaria with open arms, videogamer? Is there room for a more 'lighter mood' experience in World of Warcraft after Cataclysm?
BlizzCon 2011: Pandaren race "just a little lighter," no April Fools
25 October 2011 | By Simon Priest
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